Sun N Fun 2017

by Jim Caniff


This was the 16th year in a row that I have attended Sun n Fun and there has been an evolution in the event. It is now an entertainment venue for the non-flying public and it is still very much a fly-in and exhibition for the GA pilot and homebuilders.

The 2017 Sun n Fun event had something for everyone. It is no secret that the non-flying public is a major part of the attendees and revenue at Sun n Fun. For the general public there is of course the airshow, a car show and the static military aircraft exhibits and much more.

The airshow crowd was not in the way in the exhibits and Sun n Fun is still a very worthwhile show for the builder. It is just my opinion but I got the impression that there was actually two shows going on at once. One for pilots and homebuilders and the other for the non-flying public.

The airshow attendees brought something to Sun n Fun – the next generation of pilots and other aviation career people. There were parents with youngsters and a fair number of teens to 20 something folks. An event like Sun n Fun exposing people possibly making career choices to what aviation has to offer can only be a positive thing.

The fact that Sun n Fun began as a fly-in for homebuilders and general aviation has not been lost. This year the majority exhibitors were displaying aviation related items. There appeared to be much less of jewelry and trinket sellers. Exhibitors like Dynon had plenty of equipment to demonstrate and staff to answer questions. Most of the usual major exhibitors were present. There several exhibitors specifically geared for the homebuilder selling neatly packaged aircraft hardware and parts. Many vendors had show specials running.

There were many new products introduced at the show. Two especially interesting product are the BOM and Beacon from Levil Aviation. The BOM is a completely self contained AHRS/AOA powered by it own small propeller that Wi-Fi links to your iPad or whatever. It mounts to an inspection cover. The Beacon is 2020 compliant ADS-B out device that is completely contained in the antenna. The only external connections are the GPS antenna/ power and RS-232 to your display. Very interesting! Garmin had a slew of releases, too numerous to review here.

Also for the pilots and homebuilders were the forums and workshops. These ran all week and covered everything from ADS-B to vacuum bagging.

My only regret at Sun n Fun is that because I was working most of the day as a volunteer I did not get to see more of the event, especially the forums and workshops. As we do not work during the airshow I was able to get some photos of that and a few other sights. This is only small part of the entire event.

Patrouille de France is the precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force. Originating in 1931, it is the world’s oldest precision flight demonstration teams. Pilots currently fly the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet.

Patrouille de France performed just one day on opening day. They are making a tour through the US to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World war I and the accompanying advent of US air combat.

With the French team being here it gave the opportunity to see another unique aircraft. That would be the Airbus A400M which serves as the support aircraft for the Patrouille de France. Everyone that saw it said it looked like a C-17 with turboprops.






On Thursday of “Sun n Fun Week” the Blue Angels arrived. They did a reconnaissance and practice performance on that day and then they did their regular performance on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The show was excellent as usual and certainly a big draw for the general public looking for a great aerial performance.


Another anniversary being celebrated at Sun n Fun was the 30th year of operation for Stallion 51. They provide flight training and other services for those operating the P-51 Mustang. There were 18 P-51 aircraft at the event and about a dozen in the airshow. Stallion 51 pilot Lee Lauderback flew the “Crazy Horse” two place trainer Mustang in a solo performance, a heritage flight and in other formations.

Always impressive for sight and sound, six P-51s and their Merlin V12 engines in formation.

A heritage flight is always great to see (and hear). This years included two Mustangs, an A-10 and a F-16. The F-16 was from the Viper flight demonstration team based at Shaw AFB. The Viper team also performed in the airshow.

For a local connection the Cavanaugh Museum B-25 appeared in the warbird airshow escorted by two P-51s.

The display of warbirds even continued into the Vintage area. There was this very fine example of the military version of the Cessna 195.

The Vintage area had so many great aircraft a day could be spent there photographing and documenting them. Since this time was not available a fine example was picked from the many. Below is photo of an absolutely beautiful Beech Staggerwing that was prime example of the quality of aircraft on display.

While there is much emphasis on the airshow and entertainment for the non-flying public Sun n Fun is still  a worthwhile fly-in. The Homebuilt and Homebuilt Camping areas were well occupied.

The fly-in part of Sun n Fun started off little slow this year due to bad weather up north. Once that cleared there was a steady stream of aircraft arriving.
The event was very safe with only one notable incident for the week. A twin had a gear collapse on landing and this caused a partial runway shut down for about an hour. The sole occupant was not injured.

The only other incidents were a few dead batteries and flat tires. A good week indeed.

There was a pretty strong crosswind on the runways in use on first few days. The tower was obviously aware of this and announcing to all pilots attempting a landing that if that wanted a go around please do it without hesitation. There were a few takers and no ground loops etc. Safety is always first at the event.

That’s it for 2017. Hope to see you at Sun n Fun next year.






















Lee Lauderback in Crazy Horse


Always impressive for sight and sound, six P-51s and their Merlin V12 engines in formation.

Richard Wingfield’s RV-14 Flies!

wingfield_14_ff02EAA Chapter 168 congratulates Richard Wingfield for his August 13th maiden flight of his just completed RV-14.  The speeds and handling are exactly what Vans Aircraft has advertised with the 210 hp Lycoming IO-390.  A little bigger engine for a little bigger airframe yields the same as the previous RVs.  The flight was uneventful and everything worked as expected.    The big challenge was getting the Garmin G3X touch system configured.  And Richard is really excited about the performance of that panel.wingfield_14_ff01

Richard was early to order his slow (QB was not available) build kit.  Yet Vans was a little slow to get the final kits out after the 2012 Oshkosh debut.  So there was about six-month delay in getting this RV-14 into the air.  According to Vans website there are now 12 RV-14s flying with the tail wheel version like Richards being only a couple.

As to a little background, this is Richards third RV.  The first being an RV-6 that he bought in the early 1900s.  It was an incredible build completed in Georgetown and was the first in Texas.  The second was an RV-8 that he built in the 2010-time frame.  And now this RV-14.

wingfield_14_ff03Finally, Richard held an appreciation dinner for all the help he received on this RV-14.  As someone said, the restaurant parking lot was full of cars.  But the table only included eleven people, all from either Chapters 168 or 1246.   This is a good example of how aviation people with amazing talents are more than happy to help someone get their airplane into the air.  The RV-14 is a different breed from previous RVs so sometime we need to get Richard to tell us the story.

Airventure 2016: Day 2

Oshkosh on Sunday

By Michael Stephan

Sunday at Airventure is a free day, in more ways than one. First, it requires a ticket that is also used for Monday, and since most of the vendors are still setting up for the start of the show on Monday, they are not open on Sunday. So, you are free to roam the flight line looking at airplanes and watching new arrivals stream in.

I have several friends that are attending the show this year, so on Sunday I found their planes/campsites, sat in the grass and visited with them for most of the afternoon. Luckily they has spots near the taxiway and we watch the streaming aircraft land and taxi. More than once our conversation was stopped with, “Wow, did you see that one.”

It was hot and humid that afternoon and it took several glasses of water to stay hydrated. Staying in the shade of the airplane was a relief from the heat.

Other than a few pictures of the early arrivals, I didn’t get much accomplished, but it was quite a relaxing afternoon with friends.

This Skyote was excellent, and is now also offered as a kit.



This Murphy Moose on floats has a James Bond theme. It was called Moosey Galore.

osh16_02_03 osh16_02_01


Airventure 2016: Day 1

Sometimes getting there is the adventure

13724104_594060937430238_915477317704438323_oThe day was to start early. Get the airplane out and fly to AeroCountry to meet up with fellow RV-8 driver Ken Krebaum. From there we would launch our 2016 trip to OSH. I spent weeks prior getting the airplane tuned up for the trip. Tweaking, testing, washing for the annual excursion. But you can’t always predict failures. Strapped in and ready for fun, I found that the master switch battery contractor was not so eager. So my day wasn’t going to begin until I changed it. Having several projects has the benefit of having spares. I put one of them on. I called Ken informing him my problem and we decided to meet at our first stop in Missouri instead of McKinney.

The Weather always cooperates…….Sometimes

Tailwinds and blue skies all the way to northern Missouri was the flavor of the first leg. But things changed as we looked toward Iowa and Wisconsin. Massive storm systems live there. But we soldiered as far as we could get and Ken’s plan to skirt around the edge worked well. It did involve an hour or more of flying below a 2200’ ceiling on a hot and humid day. But, we were flying in the shade. Safely at our destination south of Oshkosh, we rest up for a busy week.

Project Visit – Pete Miller’s RV-7

he16_06-3Last month Pete Miller invited us over to inspect the progress on his RV-7. We have seen Pete’s project progress over the last few years, and now things are getting serious.
A few weeks ago a couple of us went to Pete’s and helped drill the rear wing spar to the fuselage. Since then he has completed the canopy frame construction and is marking and measuring the canopy for fitment to the frame. That is one of the most difficult tasks for a builder. Not because the parts are difficult to handle or cut, but that they are expensive and difficult to replace if you make a mistake.
The canopy also takes time to get it to fit right and that doesn’t happen until after a series of cuts and plastic removal are done, which is scary for the first time builder. Pete is doing a good job of getting it right the first time.he16_06-4

Project Visit – Greg Schroeder’s Sportsman

he16_06I recently counted 14 active projects in our chapter, and over the last several months we have been able to travel around and visit them. Recently we visited two of them and both of them are well on their way to completion. In April we saw the Sportsman project being crafted by Greg Schroeder at Northwest Regional airport.
Greg is well on his way to finishing. Even though at first look, the plane looks empty, there is quite a bit of meat and potatoes in there. The forward side of the firewall is nearly finished with only a few things to add. The fuel system is complete. The control systems are in. Most of the electrical wires have been run. So, this Sportsman should be flying in the not too distance future.
Greg intends to build it initially as a nose-gear airplane, but has made provisions to change it to a tailwheel in the future as he desires.


he16_06-2 he16_06-5
This is quality work accomplished by Greg.

2015 Web Editor Award

2015 web editorCongratulations also go to Pete Miller, Chapter 168 Secretary and Web Editor, for receiving a Web Editor award at Airventure 2015. He brought it back to share with the chapter at the August meeting. Here he is shown with chapter President Norm Biron.

Inspection by Camera

By Michael Stephan


I love tools.  There is a proper tool for every job.  I’m willing to try them all until I find it.  So, my tool box is full of useful and not so useful tools.  If it is useful, I have more than one of them (mostly so I can find one when I need it).

Recently I have been fond of the camera as an inspection/maintenance aid.  Construction photos have helped when doing an inspection.  It shows how things went together initially and can be compared to current photos. I have used it to get that linkage hardware (washers, lock washers, large washers and spacers) all back on in the right order.

In the last year I have invested in a few inspection scopes, also known as endoscopes (not the kind most people people dread).  These are the camera on a long flexible tube that can get in those tight spaces. I have been looking at these for the past few years.  There are a few places in the RV-8 that I can’t see very easily.  With the scope, I can not only see those areas, but get a picture of them for study in the future.  A camera came in handy when a fellow RV builder talked about bolts not being installed in the spar in quickbuild kits. Not remembering if I had installed them, I pulled out my camera.  Poked it into the affected area and took a picture.  I had proof that they were there. Recently a factory service bulletin mandated a horizontal stabilizer inspection for cracks.  It was reinforce the area or inspect every year for cracks.  Pulling the entire fairing off takes time, but loosening it up at the rear and sending in the camera was an easy way to inspect the area (stop laughing).

The cadre of pictures can be used as a historic record of the aircraft, much better than a few words indicating condition.  Marking all the nuts and bolts with torque seal makes it is easy to tell if the nut has moved at all on the bolts.  That really comes in handy when checking the nuts on the RV-8 gear leg bolts which are buried deep inside the gear leg towers or the jam nuts on linkage tubes. The camera lens and housing is small enough to fit inside your spark plug hole so you can see inside the cylinder as well.

Another benefit of the picture is the time and date stamp on the picture file.  Not only can you see the condition but also know when.

Once very expensive, these devices are coming down in price dramatically.  For about $20 you can buy an endoscope.   They will have a USB plug end and require a laptop computer to plug into to see the image  and most will have LED lights on the end to illuminate your subject. Dimmer control gives just the needed amount of light.

Disclaimer: Pictures are not a replacement for inspections.  Tactile feel on a linkage or a nut and bolt is the best way to get a sense of the condition of an assembly.  Looseness is not something that can be seen in a photograph. Pictures only give a visual record.

I have three endoscopes that I have bought in the last year. I bought all of them from

The first was a 2 Mega Pixel Handheld USB Digital Borescope/Endoscope/Microscope with 8.2mm Tube Diameter made by ViTiny (Model UM07).  It has a 8.2 mm diameter metal tube that houses the LEDs and lens and cost $119.98.  At the top of the tube is a focus ring, which makes it work really well in examining objects real close.  Finding stress cracks in a dimple would be a good use. I liked it so much I bought two (actually I carelessly broke the first one).

Then I found the Vividia Waterproof Mini 7mm USB Flexible Inspection Camera for $39.99.  Nothing unique other than it was much cheaper then the first one I bought and it not as delicate. It is a It has led lights in the tip and comes with a 90º mirror adapter and a magnetic pick up tip as well.

It also has the USB connection that requires a computer connection.  I found that trying to hold the camera still on the subject while trying to hit the record button on the computer was a little tricky.  The flexible rod is sometimes frustrating to work with.  It takes twisting and bending adjustments to get it on target. It is like trying to snag your car door lock with a hangar after you locked you keys in the car.

The one I am most excited about is the WiFi Hd 2.0 Mega Pixles Inspection Camera/ Borescope /Endoscope by  DBPOWER for $99.

It includes a built-in WIFI network that connect wirelessly to my iphone/ipad/android or anything that can connect to a WiFi network.  The apps that come with it can then take pictures and videos of the images from the camera. Now that is cool.  The image resolution is about the same as a 2 megapixel camera. It has an infinity length focus that gets blurry if the camera is less than about an inch away.

With the pictures on my phone, I have to transfer them to my computer for long term storage.  Currently that process is a little tedious, but maybe future software updates will make it a little easier.

The three that I have shown here are just a few of the options that are out there. Once scarce, now very plentiful. A neighbor at GPM showed me one that he bought for $14.  That is cheap enough to permanently install in the airplane with a built in USB port.  Maybe, put it trough the firewall and watch what happens under the cowl on my EFIS screen while flying.  That might be a bit frightening.

The Pober Speedster

By Michael Stephan

pober003When he is not running the North Texas Sailing School, you will find Michael Hoye in his hangar at Airpark East working on his latest project the Pober Speedster.

Michael has penchant for building one-of-a-kind designs from EAA founder Paul Poberezny. The first was the Pober Pixie II, which was a two-seat version of the Pober Pixie. He spent a decade building the pixie II and it earned much attention the several times it has traveled to Oshkosh. The Pixie II was more than a plans built project, since there were very little in the way of plans. Paul abandoned the project after welding the fuselage, due to competition from other similar concepts. Michael picked up that fuselage and brought it back to Texas. With much consultation with Paul and many prototype parts, Michael finished the plane.

Paul and Michael have had a relationship ever since.

pober002It was featured in the January 2002 edition of Sport Aviation in a 7 page article written by Budd Davidson. In the article, Budd describes building an airplane without a set of completed plans as, “Hard-core homebuilding!” And Michael is back at it again.

That leads to the Pober Speedster. Similar to the Pixie II, Paul had welded together a fuselage design that was to be a single-seat top strut-braced low-wing called the Pober Sportster. When Paul offered the fuselage to Michael, another trip to Oshkosh brought that design back to the hangar at Airpark East.
Without a set of plans, he bought a set of Acrosport I plans (another Poberezny design) to use as a guide to assist in making design decisions, since both planes had some similarities in structure.

While looking at the airplane fuselage, Michael noticed that it was very similar to the 1930’s racers, the Gee Bee Speedsters. That is what he wanted. An aircraft in the spirit of Gee Bee Speedster that he would call the Pober Speedster.

pober001For the wings, he chose to use an elliptical wing to make the speedster look like the Gee Bee. elliptical wings are quite a challenge to build, which is why you don’t see them very often even though they are very efficient. The speedster wings tapers in two directions. After rib station 12 the spar starts its taper to the wing tip as well as the leading edge rounds to the wingtip. These two tapers cause every wing rib after station 12 to be a different shape. This complexity also extends to the aileron, which is part of the elliptical shape of the wing at the trailing edge. The spar of the aileron also tapers toward the tip as the trailing edge sweeps around to the tip. When looking at the wing structure, you first notice the aesthetic round shape. It is not until you get a close look at the details that you notice the complex shape. Working with these kinds of complex curves using wood is quite a task, and his wings are a work of art. The fuel for the airplane will be located in a saddle-type tank in the fuselage just above the rudder pedals and below the upper longeron.

That fuel will feed a Lycoming O-235 that is currently on the engine mount at the back of the Hangar. It is a used engine that Michael plans on overhauling and upgrading the cylinders. Since his Pixie II had a crankshaft journal oil feed plug up and cause complete failure of the piston rod, he wants to completely go though the engine before putting it in the air.

One of the departures from the Gee Bee Speedster is the landing gear structure. Those racers placed the gear out on the wing and had the gear’s forces travel through the wing struts to the fuselage. Not being interested in putting the stresses in the wing, Michael has opted for a more conventional piper cub style gear leg and bungie arrangement. It is a strong structure and is also what he used on the Pixie. The only drawback being the drag caused by the bungies under the fuselage.

pober004While showing me the fuselage, Michael mentioned that all the control linkages will be cables, including the elevator, which is usually a push/pull tube in Paul’s designs. Due to the geometry of the fuselage and the position of the fuselage tubing, it takes a joint in the tube and a bell-crank to make the bend around the structure to the elevator horns. He believes that cables and pulleys are a simpler and stronger connection with fewer joints. The ailerons will also be controlled by a combination of cables and pulleys. The cables will be very visible in the fuselage revealing the makings of the machine.

The Speedster’s fuselage has been blasted and primed. When looking closely at the tubing junctions, you can see the how talented a welder Paul Poberezny was. Every cluster is beautiful. Those who think only TIG welds are attractive haven’t seen Paul’s work. He was a master with the gas torch.

There is so much about the speedster that is interesting, you just have to see it to experience the excellence. Pictures don’t do it justice. Michael hopes to have the project flying in a few more years. I look forward to seeing it in the display area at Oshkosh.

There are not many builders like Michael Hoye. The kit-built builder community can pound their chest and boast about the design, but they built someone else’s design. He is building his own. And even though it won’t be the fastest or the most sleek airplane on the field, it will be a one-of-a-kind airplane, just like his other one. Now that is hard-core.